From Yellow Cards to Criminal Charges: Soccer Fans Foul Play with Nazi Symbols

Police charged three soccer fans with breaking a new law that bans the public display of Nazi symbols without a reasonable excuse.

The passing of Crimes Amendment (Prohibition on Display of Nazi Symbols) Bill 2022, was six months ago and these are the first charges under the new law in Australia.

Public display of Nazi symbols banned in NSW

The Law:

  • a new offence in the Crimes Act 1900 carries a maximum penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or a $11,000 fine or both for an individual; or a fine of $55,000 for a corporation.
  • However, the law contains exceptions that allow the display of Nazi symbols for academic, artistic, or educational purposes.

To be charged it must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. You knowingly displayed the Nazi flag or memorabilia,
  2. Without reasonable excuse. 

Soccer fans charged for displaying Nazi symbol at Australia Cup Final

Three soccer fans have now been charged with “knowingly displaying a Nazi symbol without excuse” at the Australia Cup final held at Sydney’s Commbank Stadium in 2022. Macarthur FC prevailed 2-0 against the strongly Croatian supported Sydney United 58 in the game. Croatia was a Nazi ally in Word War 2.

They are the first in Australia facing charges under the new law that bans the public display of Nazi symbols without a reasonable excuse.

NSW Police conducted an extensive review of broadcast and CCTV footage from the match before making the charges.

The three individuals face a maximum penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine if found guilty.

Football Australia have already acted:

  • Imposing life bans against two fans for making Nazi salutes
  • A $15,000 fine for the club, Sydney United 58

At this time, Victoria is the only other state in Australia to pass a similar law banning the public display of Nazi symbols.

If you have any questions about this issue, or any other criminal law matter, do not hesitate to contact our experienced legal team for advice and assistance.

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O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
e: 
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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